230.71 -- Number of Disconnects
Attack of the
Faces of the Code
Lost in the
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Top 2005 Code Changes
230.71 -- Number of
By Mike Holt
The general requirements for number of disconnects was
revised to exclude transient voltage surge suppressors.
(Note: Code text has been paraphrased.)
What the Code says:
There must be no more than six service-disconnects for each service
permitted by 230.2 or for each set of service-entrance conductors
by 230.40, Ex. 1, 3, 4 or 5. The service disconnecting means can
of up to six switches or six circuit breakers mounted in a single
enclosure, in a group of separate enclosures or in or on a switchboard.
For the purpose of this section, the disconnecting means for power
monitoring equipment, transient voltage surge suppressors, the
control circuit of the ground-fault protection system or power-operable
service disconnecting means is not considered a service disconnecting
means. (Text new to the Code is underlined.)
Behind the change: This revision was necessary because in
cases a TVSS wasn't permitted to be added to buildings because they
already contained six service disconnecting means.
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breaking the circuit.
Attack of the Weekend
A couple years ago my friend purchased a home from a
"handyman" who had redone the upstairs master bedroom. One day she was
using her microwave when half the lights and outlets in the house went
dead. She re-set the breaker but nothing happened. She called me over
check it out, and after several hours of snooping I traced the problem
to somewhere behind the master walk-in closet. When I cut into the
I found an open 2-gang metallic box (the house was wired with flex).
1-gang box was hanging from the first by a 4-in. piece of
3/8-in. flex. Neither box had a cover, and both
had a big ball of electrical tape inside with wires running in all
directions, including out the front of the box. Scorch marks were
evident in both boxes, and it smelled of burnt plastic. Needless to
I had to replace a ton of wire, boxes, and a couple circuits, but now
is able to sleep at night.
Send your 200-word story to us and it may
appear in a future issue of CodeWatch. Authors of stories chosen will
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What's Wrong Here?
By Joe Tedesco
How does this
installation violate the NEC?
Hint: The inside of this service equipment appears a little
speckled, wouldn't you agree?
By Mike Holt
Q. I've been looking online, but I can't seem to
find a consistent answer on whether a television antenna placed in the
attic needs to be grounded. Does it?
See the answer.
By Steven Owen
What is/are the appropriate electrode(s) required to
ground a 112.5kVA transformer installed as a separately derived system?
The transformer is located 500 feet from the service equipment in a
separate electrical room. Metallic water piping runs throughout the
structure. The framework of the building is structural steel, and
there's neither a ground ring nor access to rebar installed in the
footings. The building's electrical system is grounded in accordance
all the applicable rules of Art. 250 of the 2005 NEC.
- A grounding electrode conductor connection to the metal
water piping system in the area of the separately derived system
is all that's required.
- A grounding electrode conductor connection to the structural steel
in the area of the separately derived system is all that's
- Either one of the electrodes in A or B by itself is
- Either one of the electrodes in A or B is acceptable as the
grounding electrode only if the other electrode is also connected
(bonded) to the same point of the separately derived system where the
grounding electrode conductor connection of the system is also made.
Visit EC&M's Web
for the answer and explanation.
The National Electrical Code Internet Connection, the No. 1
rated Code Web site in the world, offers the following FREE products:
Books, Code Quiz, DVDs, Graphics for PowerPoint, Newsletter, Online
Training, Posters, Simulated Exams, Software, Video clips, and Videos
Visit www.NECcode.com and stay
current with important industry issues.
Faces of the Code
Member, Code-Making Panel 2
As Don Corleone, Marlon Brando made offers others
couldn't refuse. But when Tom Harman visited him five years ago to
discuss the merits of installing a tankless water heater at his
Hollywood estate, it was Brando who for once felt compelled to accept.
Harman, who was moonlighting as a consultant for Microtherm, Inc.,
humbly dismisses talking business with the Godfather as his 15 minutes
of fame, but it may have actually been fate that a member of the
electrical industry who's done it his way spent time with an actor
for his independence.
Unlike nearly every other Code-making panel member, Harman
only for himself when he votes on changes to the NEC. More than 25
ago when he joined Code-Making Panel 2, it wasn't uncommon for panel
members to represent themselves instead of an organization or
association. Today, he's one of only three remaining independents -- or
"special experts," as they're now known -- with voting status. "I've
just always done it on my own," Harman says.
Without anyone to sponsor him, he had only his own accomplishments
help him win a seat at the table. But in 1979 his career as a professor
at the University of Houston - Clear Lake had only recently begun, and
he was nearly 10 years from becoming the chair of the computer
engineering department. He could have sold himself on the strength of
his doctorate in electrical engineering from Rice University in Houston
the master electrician's license he earned in 1973, but it was his
skill with the word processor that made him most attractive. "I'd just
published my book, Guide to the National Electrical Code, when I
a number of people from the panel," he says. "And [then chairman] Earl
Roberts said to me, 'Tom, we need people like you.' I've been on it
After nine cycles on CMP-2, Harman has traveled across the United
States and even as far as South Korea to speak about the Code. But it
was that house call in Hollywood that gave him the story he most enjoys
telling. "It was interesting [to spend time with Marlon]," he says. "He
was very open
about his life and his experiences."
Lost in the Crowd
With every association with even the faintest ties to
the electrical industry clamoring to put at least one member on a
Code-making panel, "special experts" like Tom Harman are a dying breed.
Are the independent voices getting squeezed out? Visit EC&M's Web site to tell us what
We only asked one question in the last issue of CodeWatch, but your
responses told us two things. Not only do the vast majority of you
expect inspectors to have more than five years of electrical wiring
experience, but the unusually high vote turnout suggests you feel
strongly about it.
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